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Topic Review (Latest First)

Posted by Wade
11-29-2016 11:09 AM

My original plan, when I invented the core of the Spellshaper story, was to have the details and the personalities of the female characters, especially Rita, written by an actual woman. I wanted her to be more believable and “alive” than I could write her by myself.

I have observed authors over the years who tried to do all the writing themselves, or else had varying degrees of collaboration, and the ones written by a man-woman team tend to be more believable and understandable.

I wanted the female characters to seem truly “female” and behave as female, not as a man perceives them, because making an epic novel come alive is about making the characters so real that the reader half believes they once actually existed.

I had over 120 pages of Spellshaper written, and had all of the major pot elements outlined, but I eventually gave up on the project because I wanted help developing a few of the most important female characters. There’s how men perceive women, and then there’s how women perceive women. I wanted Rita to be polished up from a woman’s perspective, especially in the first several chapters of the book, because of what happens later in the story.

In this way, the relationship between Brandon and Rita will be give and take, just as the relationship between the two co-authors. The female co-author would develop Rita’s specific details and some of her dialogue and inner thought life, whenever that is revealed.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Each of Brandon’s friends will encounter a different, permanent obstacle throughout the first book of the story, and Brandon’s role, among other things, will be to help them overcome these obstacles.

The Old Man is being introduced as sort of a pre-narrator within the story itself.

Posted by Wade
11-29-2016 09:49 AM

Future chapters of the first installment of “Spellshaper” include:

“Flight of the Five”
“Nobody Kills a King”
“When Chaos Comes”
“In Rita’s Blood”

Posted by Wade
11-29-2016 08:38 AM

Rear cover:
“Bards tell tales of an era when the dreaded Legions of Shadow once walked the land of Enderon. People dreaded the darkness which hung over the land even under the noon sun. The legends claim that the mysterious group known as the Spellshapers rose up against a being known as the Shade Lord, and imprisoned him for all eternity, but those are just legends. Aren’t they? The Old Man knew better."

Posted by Wade
11-29-2016 08:07 AM

Chapter 1:
“Missing Gold”

Sweat stung Brandon’s eyes as he swung his sword to parry another attack from Andrew. There were no time-outs in war, and even a practice session with the older Andrew was an all-out war.

“Swing wide, open wide. Swing narrow, open narrow," he told himself.

The two danced an unhappy waltz of death. Moment to moment wooden practice swords clacked as they rang out, parried one another mere inches before a killing blow would have landed. Andrew always defeated Brandon; Always.

Brandon couldn’t help wondering what he’d been doing wrong in the past. He had mastered all of the Lieutenant’s best instruction, and even won a practice session with most of the active soldiers at the local garrison, but never had he defeated Andrew. That was about to change today. Today Andrew’s pace seemed off somehow. Brandon thought Andrew might be sick, as he dodged another thrust and then jumped over a sweep to his legs which came too slow.

A crowd of on-looking spectators cheered with amusement.

Where did they come from? Of course, this was not a mere practice session after all. This was the finals of the annual fall festival tournament. Just as Brandon was wondering how he could forget such a thing at a moment like this, Andrew made a rare mistake. His guard was too wide. Not wide enough to allow a killing blow, but wide enough nonetheless. Brandon half lunged, half swung his wooden blade around, and to his pleasure Andrew didn’t quite have time to bring his own sword to bear. Wooden practice sword met open wrist of Andrew’s arm, and he let out a yell.

A horn let loose a long bellow as Lieutenant Garrick began announcing the winner to the crowd.

“That does it, " cried Garrick, “A blow to the sword arm is enough to win a real fight by any Rules of War I know. Congratulations, young Andrew, you’ve just been defeated for the first time in three years. Give yourself a hand. If this were a real duel you’d be missing yours! Maybe next time you’ll remember your first lesson: Never under-estimate your opponent!"

That was as close to being congratulated for a win as Brandon was likely to come as it regarded Lieutenant Garrick. That was his manner; No nonsense, always using the opportunity to teach rather than praise. The gathering crowd was still cheering and chanting his name. No small wonder, Andrew had defeated every challenger for the past three years, and Brandon doubted he could win two times out of ten against him even now. Still, a win is a win, and it seemed time to relish in the moment, if only for a moment.

Brandon scanned the crowd. That figures. Rita was not here to see him win. Rita never watched when Brandon competed at swords. She claimed she didn’t want to see him get his face bashed in. Brandon couldn’t help wishing his girlfriend were a bit more optimistic about his choice of hobbies.

Instead of Rita being in the crowd, some elderly foreigner was eyeing him. The gentleman had bushy eyebrows which grew nearly together. He was wearing a straw hat and a blue-grey cloak, and who knew what else; Bent over on a walking cane, as though carrying the weight of the world, the old geezer looked as if he’d fall over dead on the spot. “I saw what you did there, boy! I saw it," cried the old man.

Brandon wondered what he was talking about, “What do you mean, old man? Andrew’s guard was too wide. I had him on the inside."

“No, No," the old man began to reply, “You cheated! This wasn’t a fair fight! I know what you did!"

Just then Lieutenant Garrick cut him off, “There, there old timer. I’m the Master of Swords at this garrison, and I didn’t see anything under-handed in this duel. You probably had one too many drinks from the local p...well, I don’t smell any ale on your breath. You’d better explain yourself."

The old man frowned, as though reconsidering what to say. “Maybe I think better of it. I’ll just keep it between the boy and me. We’ll talk about this contest later, lad. Think nothing of it for now." With that, the old man faded back into the crowd, and was nowhere to be seen within seconds.

“Yeah, take it easy old-timer," sneered Andrew, “Hate to admit, Brandon beat me fair and square."

There was still one last thing to settle: the prize. “With that out of the way," Garrick began, “I think it’s time we doll out the prize money to our top competitors. Brandon, by winning today’s tournament, you’ve earned yourself three shares of the prize, which I can assure you is a King’s Ransom. This year we can afford to pay the winner three ounces of gold, which is nearly triple last yea...Hey! My coin purse is missing. Someone stole the bloody prize money!"

A stunned silence fell over half the crowd, but the others erupted with laughter, thinking the Lieutenant was making a joke.

“No, I’m serious. That old man stole my wallet. Someone catch him!"

By now, the entire crowd had succumbed to laughter, pointing fingers at the Lieutenant, “He got robbed by an old man. Too slow for an old geezer!"

Just then, the old man spoke from the center of the arena. Nobody saw where he came from. He was just there.

“You are correct, Lieutenant Garrick. I did take your Gold, if only to prove a point."

The old man tossed the bag to Garrick, who caught it out of the air, as the crowd laughed ever harder.

“How did you do that, old man? Who are you?"

“Never mind that for now. I’ll speak with the boy alone. My name is unimportant. Don’t make it important, or there may be trouble. Understand?"

“Is that supposed to be some kind of a threat?" Garrick was furious.

“No, boy, that was counsel," replied the old man.

“I think I need a drink."

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